Hours before the music begins and the sun is just beginning to set, T.C.’s Lounge feels like a ghost town. It is hard to believe in a few hours the place will be crowded with people old and young dancing to the blues, causing the floor to move and the walls to rattle. The place will be so packed that the fan and A/C unit will no longer be enough to keep the place cool. There will be a long line at the bar for cold beer and free southern soul food made by T.C.’s bartender, Baby Girl.
The atmosphere is everything you imagined of living in the era of Delta and Chicago Blues, Juke Joints, and Muddy Waters. It takes you back to a time when good music and hard times converged and, to this day, T.C.’s Lounge continues to carry on the blues tradition. Bars in Austin can be here today and gone tomorrow, but owner Thomas C. Perkins has kept the blues music going in his place, at 1413 Webberville Road, since 1978. The Blues is home for T.C.’s Lounge.
“I listened to B.B. King, Ray Charles, Bobby Blue Bland, and old timers growing up. I would visit other cities and see how Jazz was working. I wanted to bring back to T.C.’s but it didn’t workout. Then once in a while I tried to play music on the jukebox that kept up with the times like hip hop/rap, but I felt the music was becoming more offensive and created more problems. After a while I decided to keep it just Blues, and I haven’t had any problems since then. People who come here now come to enjoy the music and to have a good time,” said Perkins.
On Monday nights, The Little Elmore Reed Band fills the room with great blues music, and the dance floor is never empty. Monday nights bring in the biggest crowd, but any other night you can experience the true soul of the club. Every Wednesday night, Soul Track Mind graces the stage with funky, soulful rhythms and beats. Free food is served Monday to Sunday, and the menu is never planned. The cooks, Thomas’s nieces, cook what they feel. Thomas is aware of his community in which his bar resides, and wants to give back to his customers with cheap drink prices, great entertainment, and free food.
“The people on the East side are very supportive. I try to keep it a regular bar. I am in the area of working people and I’m not trying to kick them out with overpricing because they have been very supportive of me all these years. I’m also very happy to see the diversity of the crowd. Everyone is welcome here,” said Perkins.
T.C.’s has a more true blues roots feel than the blues bars you find on Sixth Street, and you feel it as soon as you park in the dirt parking lot and walk up to the “lopsided barn that’s grimy with years of dancing,” as stated on their MySpace page. So whether you choose to go to T.C.’s Lounge on a Monday, when the dance floor shakes, or any other night, when the place is less crowded and the music is still great, get on down to T.C.’s Lounge where the blues is still alright.By Dulcenea Garcia